Peer Review by ollieollie (United States of America)()

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titles are as overrated as my talent

By: Grace Renae


FREE WRITING

Grace does not write pretty. 
    When her pen hits the page, it is neither a display of elegance nor her namesake. Her strokes are short. Her mind cannot fathom much more. She thinks that her "a" would look more "aesthetic" if she drew it like her friend, so she tries to copy that kind of style. She is not her friend. Her hand is clunky and shaky. Should she attempt to add flair to a letter, she will end up with a garbled mess on her paper. It doesn't matter. She has enough empty journals to fill a bookshelf, but will not bring herself to ruin their purity by defiling them with words. She will never write with a pen. What if she makes a mistake? Erase everything and start over! And with all the focus on her handwriting, how can she think up a storyline? She contemplates making a draft. No, no, no, it needs to be edited now!
    Grace is known to type for hours on end, using far too many commas to be considered professional and sometimes leaving spelling errors behind because she is simply too lazy to fix them. Made-up phrases make their home in her poetry. Surely she heard them somewhere. There are words in her works that she cannot even pronounce, let alone understand fully. She'll use them anyway. She likes run-on sentences. Why should she ever stop the same expression from continuing, when her mind is always continuing, always thinking up new thoughts that all string together, like how she felt when she saw the boys looking at her inside the restaurant versus in the parking lot of the Walmart, and how some people's voices sound like chocolate? When she writes, it is chaos on a page. Nothing every truly connects. Some thoughts do not even make sense with the topic that she is writing about. She writes them anyway. Her paragraphs are poorly split, with some pieces added like afterthoughts. 
    Grace thinks of beginnings and endings, but never anything in between. She knows everything about her characters except their plot. When she names them, they are destined only to be unique. No room for "John." Great, so Tripp Michaels is eighteen, has three cats, and lives with his roommate, Adonis. He likes to eat shrimp and watch movies. On Sundays, Tripp goes to church to meet with his biological mother. She has early-onset dementia and relies on him for money. A solid background. If only he had a present. Grace's chapters consist of thesaurus help and angst. She'll say the same word eighty thousand times and open each sentence the same way, then go back through and change them. She has never completed a full book. Millions of half-baked ideas lurk in her computer, most of which will never see the light of publishing.
    Only Grace can understand the complexity of herself. While other writers favor scenes of happiness and joy, she will only conjure sadness. Her fingers tap out page after page about AIDs and dead lovers and climaxes closely followed with death. Prompted writing is her enemy. Prompts restrict her ability to make herself cry. Her teachers say that she is a good writer (more than half the time, she thinks they are wrong). Their only wonder is why every assignment she turns in is so hopeless. Grace is not a hopeless girl, but sometimes it is easier to feel hopeless then to feel happy. She is prone to frantically typed rants on her Tumblr. She craves attention. Although she is not mentally ill, she forms characters who are. She composes poetry about suicide. She is a mess of so much to say and a lack of skills to do so.
    Grace does not write pretty, and most likely, she never will. She will enter every single contest every single time, but she will not win. That's okay. She cares what people think, yes. She cries when they reject her, yes. But she is resilient. Grace does not write pretty, she writes what she thinks. She is a writer, albeit horrible, and she will not let anyone take that away from her. 
    Even her endings, which sound solid in her head, could use some work.

This is a late-night piece, so my apologies.

Peer Review

Oh god, which one? Probably 'She is a mess of so much to say and a lack of skills to do so. ' Sometimes your thoughts just build up and you have no idea how to get them out and so they just explode onto your keyboard. I think that's what happened here, and it's amazing. That line pretty much sums that whole feeling up.


I'M NOT ALONE! was the first thought. I was left with a feeling of rawness and truth that I rarely get from other writing. This was not pretty. It was sloppy and real and uncaring of criticism and it was beautiful. I wish I had this much confidence.


How did it feel when you just let your fingers run? I can sense the relief coming from this piece, and I would like to know how much thought you put into this. Because it seems like you just wrote whatever first came into your mind, but in the best way possible.


Reviewer Comments

Grace. Oh, Grace. This. Is. Incredible. Its imperfection is what makes is special, and it was a joy to read. I have no criticism because it is exactly what it needs to be. This brought me back to the roots of what writing is for. Not to look pretty, but as an outlet for these crazy brains of ours. The closest comparison I can make to this would be abstract art.
Bravo, my friend.